This all started in the early spring of 2017. I have always been a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe and I wanted to pay homage to him. I decided that doing a body paint based on one of his most famous works, “The Raven” would be a fitting tribute. I assembled and amazing team and did what I thought would be my first and only Poe themed body paint. It was spring time and up until that point it had been warm for weeks but the night before the body paint the weather broke cold. We were doing the body paint in my studio at the haunted house where I manage makeup, The Devil’s Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com/darknessfalls/ ). There is no heat or A/C there so our model Rebecca Bien was freezing. It was everything our assistant Tia Rogers could do to keep all the space heaters pointed at every point of her body. You can read all about and see all of the behind the scenes images from “Lenore” here http://mattgoodlettmakeup.com/blog/2017/3/6/lenore .
Now fast forward to December of 2018. My good friend Lauren Albert had talked about doing something together for years but with her living in Los Angeles it wasn’t really possible. This past holiday while she was home we decided to make it happen. We had always talked about doing some dramatic beauty looks but that changed over time. As it turned out she is a huge Poe fan as well and loved my “Lenore” Body paint. Her favorite poem is “Annabel Lee” so we decided to do a body paint based on that. It was an interesting Piece to interpret into a body paint but I think we did a pretty good job. We called it “Kingdom by the Sea” and you can read out it here, http://mattgoodlettmakeup.com/blog/2018/12/26/castle-by-the-sea-1 .
When planning my second Poe body paint with Lauren I knew I couldn’t have just two and there would have to be a third. For one, I hate even numbers and I also felt you need at least three pieces in order to call it a series. My all-time favorite Poe piece is “The Tell-Tale Heart”. I love how the narrator in telling you the story is talking about how a insane person would never take the “ingenious” measures he has gone to but in actuality telling you how insane he really is in his meticulousness. I knew I wanted that to be my final Poe body paint.
I wanted the heart to be anatomical and really stand out but didn’t want to spend half the body paint doing just the heart. My friend and model Max Osborne had seen an earlier call for a model I put out to do a test makeup for a short film I was working on. I had already done that test makeup but when she told me she was coming to town and asked if there was anything I wanted to test I thought it would be a good opportunity to test the heart. From doing this test I knew I wanted the heart to be black and white so that it would stand out from the colors. I screwed up the heart on Max by leaving out some of the ventricles among other things. I have to thank Max because I did learn from this test. I learned that I knew I wanted to do some greyscale airbrush shading before I did the sketchy black lines to give a bit more depth,…and to not forget all parts of the heart.
I have followed model Jenn Davis on Instagram for years. She is no stranger to nude modeling so I knew she’d be comfortable which is important for body paint. She also has this amazing face and almost somber eyes. I knew given the nature of the story her face and eyes were going to he just as important as her body. I have tried to work with her many times over the years to no avail. I can’t put my finger on why but she intimidated me slightly. That aside I knew she’d perfect so I asked. Lucky things came together for this project and we were able to work out scheduling. There was also no reason for intimidation because she was so sweet and warm. Jenn was a real pro and pleasure to work with.
Speaking of people that are a pleasure to work with, Danny Alexander has been there every step of this process. He has been able to bring something new to each of these images and still kept them in the same universe as a series. The way he lit Jenn’s face for this final piece was perfect. Even though this was a body paint Danny understood that given the old man’s eye in the story and Jenn’s one eye that the face was also very important and lit her accordingly.
This has really nothing to do with the body paint but I thought I would mention it. The chromed ceramic skull was used in the first two body paints as a unifying feature. The skull was not just used for obvious visual reasons but to force the same pose. I came home a couple weeks prior to find it smashed on my tile floor. One of my black cats (Poe and Beelzebub) or a combination of the two decided it would look better on the ground. It was a decoration I got at Walgreens in tha Halloween section so I had no idea where to find another one. Luckily I was able to find all of the pieces and glue it all back together.
In the story the Narrator talks about how much he loves the old man but can’t stand his one pale blue "vulture eye". After looking at this eye day after day the narrator decides the old man has to die. Through his overly tedious planning he ends up smothering the old man with a mattress. He then cuts him up, somehow spilling no blood and places him under the hardwood floor.
The hash marks on her shoulders and neck represent the marks I imagined he made, at least in his crazed mind when dismembering the corpse. I decided to do her arms in a lighter blue to resemble a dead skin tone like in the original Day of the Dead film. Not my favorite zombie makeups but they are iconic. I know the old man hadn’t been dead for more than a few hours and that skin doesn’t ever really turn that blue anyhow but it was an artistic choice. While he states that no blood was spilled I painted the hands in red to signify metaphorical blood on the narrators hands and guilt in his mind.
There is of course a black and white sketched heart on her chest mentioned earlier to somewhat mimic the etching prints you’d maybe see in papers and books in the 1800’s. The blackness around the heart represents the hole in the floor created when he removes the three floor boards to confess to the police. I created a knot hole on Jenn’s other breast to not only mask the nipple in the black paint but to have the pale blue eye peeking through the the floor boards where I imagined the head was under the boards. The white out contact I used on Jenn from Primal Contactl Lenses ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) allowed for a little bit of her blue eye to tint the lens. To really make it stand out I shadowed that one eye with heavy blue shadows to really drive the point home and add to the creepy factor.
I love the way this last body paint came out and how it fits with the other two in the series. I want to thank all of the models for their patience and trust. Being a body paint model isn’t easy. There is a lot of standing still, it is often cold and then in this case there is being nude with some weird dude for hours. All of the models in this series were great and a joy to work with one and all. I of course want to thank Danny because without him none of this would have been possible. Last but not least I need to thank Edgar Allan Poe for the endless inspiration.